Almost slightly over two decades since its inevitable closure, legitimate concerns are being raised about the status of the now defunct Namibia Sports Council.
The country’s sports presiding body was dissolved by the portfolio ministry in 1995 to make way for a new enterprise, which is today known as the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), and while logic suggests that the assets of the sports council, amounting to millions of dollars, would have been transferred to its successor, it was not the case.
Apart from a fat bank balance, office equipment, a vehicle and other valuable immovable and movable assets, the council’s most prized asset was a large piece of land in Hosea Kutako Drive (where the new Home Affairs Ministry’s head offices are being built). It is the same piece of land where the old State Hospital for Natives (Bantus/Blacks) was stationed before it was relocated to Namibia’s largest residential area Katutura in the early 70’s.
It has since emerged that the then NSC Executive, chaired by former football boss Elliot ‘Oom Paul’ Hiskia, took a unilateral decision to donate the large piece of prime land to the Dr Sam Nujoma Foundation.
However, several pundits within the sporting fraternity are unimpressed and accuse the former executive of having acted outside their area of jurisdiction.
“The Executive had no legal standing to take such a decision because they were supposed to have consulted their subjects, in this case the affiliated sports codes for approval,” charges local football guru Hendrik Christiaan.
“The entire Namibian sports fraternity is in dire need of funds and yet those entrusted to guard our assets are donating valuable property just like that. Such assets could be justifiably used as collateral value should the need arise.”
The often controversial or rather misunderstood but shrewd football administrator calls for those who were in charge of the NSC’s affairs to account for all the council’s recorded assets.
Christiaan also demands honest answers on interest accrued from the NSC’s stalled bank account.
Approached to shed light on the matter, former executive member Leon Hemmes appeared to be caught by surprise, wanting to know where the reporter’s interest in the matter derived from.
“I’m not at liberty to reveal the exact figures but all I know is that there are institutions that still owe the NSC piles of money in uncollected debts apart from the office equipment that is still to be auctioned,” said a visibly shaken Hemmes.
Alerted that the NSC was a public institution funded by taxpayers, Hemmes changed his tune, saying he was outside the country and would only be able to provide satisfactory answers when he is back home.
Former NSC executive member Calle Scheiffer admits that negotiations took place with the Sam Nujoma Foundation about a joint venture to develop the property, but sadly the deal fell through.
“We made a presentation to the foundation whereupon it was resolved to donate the piece of land to the foundation for development purposes since we did not have appropriate funds to develop the property.
“Part of the agreement was for the foundation to construct state-of-the-art recreational facilities at the allocated plot, including a library, museum, cultural exhibition centre and accommodation blocks within the complex as part of a reciprocal deal.”
However, Scheiffer adds that failure to start construction within the prescribed period of ten years resulted in the council having to cede the lease agreement – thus obliging the City of Windhoek to summarily nullify the leasing contract.